Chapter published in:Lexical Priming: Applications and advances
Edited by Michael Pace-Sigge and Katie J. Patterson
[Studies in Corpus Linguistics 79] 2017
► pp. 142–162
Lexical priming and metaphor – Evidence of nesting in metaphoric language
Metaphoricity is often regarded as a distinctive linguistic phenomenon, in opposition to literal, or non-figurative language. Recent research from a corpus-linguistic perspective has begun to show, however, that such a dichotomist stance to metaphor does not bear scrutiny (Deignan 2005; Partington 2006; Philip 2011). Our ability to manipulate or bend the limits of linguistic conventions (semantically, lexically, grammatically) in order to cope with communicative demands is one area where this dichotomy does not hold up. The focus of this chapter is to explore a nesting (cf. Hoey 2005) pattern of grew that is specific to its use in metaphoric contexts, and compare this to its absence in non-metaphoric contexts. The data are taken from a 49m-word corpus of nineteenth century writings. The findings go some way to suggesting that as a metaphor, grew is qualitatively a different lexical item when compared to its non-metaphoric use(s). It is proposed that Hoey’s (2005) Drinking Problem Hypothesis can account for these lexical differences, providing a psychological explanation for what drives us as language users to identify metaphor. Crucially, adopting lexical priming as a means to exploring metaphor shifts the perspective of metaphoricity to the individual language user: the findings show that a metaphoric sense of an item appears to be dependent on the primings activated in a reader. It can thus be argued, based upon the lexical priming approach, that metaphoricity is inherent in the language user rather than the language itself, and that its manifestation is often dependent on the individual’s interpretation of the language.
Published online: 14 August 2017
Deignan, A. & Semino, E.
Deignan, A., Littlemore, J. & Semino, E.
Frantzi, K. & Ananiadou, S.
Lindquist, H. & Levin, M.
2010 Why prosodies aren’t always present: Insights into the idiom principle. In Proceedings of the Corpus Linguistics Conference CL2009, M. Mahlberg, V. González-Díaz, & C. Smith (eds). Liverpool: University of Liverpool. 〈ucrel.lancs.ac.uk/publications/CL2009/317FullPaper.rtf〉
Steen, G., Dorst, A., Herrmann, B., Kaal, A., Krennmayr, T., Pasma, T.
Cited by 1 other publications
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